Rescuers found the bodies of two miners and are searching for 14 others in a flooded colliery in northeast China, state media said, in the latest deadly accident to hit the country's coal industry.
The tragedy struck early on Saturday at a coal mine in the city of Jixi in Heilongjiang province when 22 miners were underground, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
Around 4,000 cubic metres of water -- the equivalent of nearly two Olympic-sized swimming pools -- poured into the mine shaft, the news agency quoted Jixi vice-mayor Wang Guangyue as saying.
Rescuers were expected to take three days to pump the water out, according to Wang.
Six workers managed to escape, Xinhua quoted the local city government as saying.
The mine, owned by a local company, is thought to have started production without approval, according to the news agency.
Official figures showed that more than 3,200 workers died in China's notoriously dangerous coal mines last year, but independent observers say the actual figure could be higher, as many accidents are covered up.